Underground Brands and Billions— What the Rise of Custom Streetwear Means
There are a million ways to look at the rise of custom streetwear. But, since a good chunk of its activity can be found through Reddit and online communities of fervent fans, we thought it would only make good sense to start with an interesting, illuminating fact.
Seemingly benign, the fact we are about to share demonstrates that the world of clothes is forever changing in the wake of streetwear. It even leads us into a discussion of what the rise of streetwear means about the world as it is.
THE RISE OF STREETWEAR
More often than not, certain streetwear brands can only be found through commitment and tenacity. So, when we say that online searches for streetwear terms grew by 157% in just one year, we mean that they are becoming not just popular, but viral.
Today, the entire streetwear industry has an estimated value of $309 billion dollars. That money is the outcome of increased collaborations, cross-overs, and never-before-seen items mixed with limited supply and custom design.
It’s partially so incredible that streetwear continues to grow in value because it is an industry characterized by limited supply and niche followings. The following may be smaller than other fashion trends, but it shows no signs of slowing down. Those who want it, they want it bad.
They are ferocious online and dedicated hunters of limited edition releases to the point that social media, traffic, and engagement continue to grow year after year. But, what is responsible for the growth of an industry that is committed to small releases and high prices?
THE SECRET OF STREETWEAR
The answer is: BIG collabs. For example, when Fila collaborates with brands like Fendi, Palace, and Weekday, they got street cred as well as an 82% increase in site traffic. The same is true for brands like Champion, Birkenstock, and Nike.
Find the right names to partner with, and you might be able to make a coveted limited edition sandal that goes for over $500. Some people are critics, and there will always be naysayers. For once, if people don’t like what you’re doing, you might just be doing something right.
That’s true for Supreme who was recently valued at over a billion dollars by selling hoodies and t-shirts. The fact is that “fashion” is changing, and we would be mistaken to simply call what streetwear is doing a “fashion trend.”
This is not a test, and this is not a trend. Clothes themselves are changing, becoming more casual and effortless than ever. You can see the evidence of this if you look at sneaker culture and hip-hop, the dominant musical form in the US. The fact is that people don’t want stuck-up brands anymore when they could have truly unique and wearable clothes.
STREETWEAR AND PHILOSOPHY
Streetwear is the child of a demand for reality that has real attitude. You can see this if you look at the clothes themselves. They poke fun at the “serious” postures of other “bigger” brands while they remain relentlessly casual and ready-to-wear. Through hoodies and graphic tees, streetwear has been captivating the next generation of shoppers who grew up on Biggie.
Like its young consumer, streetwear, especially custom streetwear, has an interesting relationship to the ideas of luxury and opulence that fashion houses rely on. Rather than lean in or outright resist, it sticks to the principle that something can still be popular and impossible to acquire.
Brands like Palace, Supreme, and Cav Empt create graphic tees for men, but that doesn't mean that they come cheaply or easily. What is so interesting about the popularity of streetwear today is that it remains so ephemeral, almost surreal at the same time that it demands reality in terms of wearability and functionality.
You would almost think that the whole thing is a big contradiction. You want “special” t-shirts and “priceless” shoes? Yes, we want brands to bend to what we actually wear without losing any of the prestige or popularity. We do not want Crocs. We do not want discounts. We want a t-shirt to mean something, just as much, as a silken, tailor-made suit jacket.
STREETWEAR AND THE WORLD
As everything seems to change for a world which is more casual and non-pretentious than ever, when a stranger can give you a ride to the grocery store at the drop of a pin, brands are starting to catch on to the idea that attitude counts. Soul matters.
That’s why the rise of streetwear is so incredible. It can be hard to believe that in a world where television reality stars become presidents that on the ground, and underground, people are still craving meaning. We still want to believe with
tireless, fierce passion that what we wear and what we buy is not dictated by fashion houses, but by our own, internal desires.
LE FRUIT DEFENDU’S CUSTOM STREETWEAR
At Le Fruit Defendu, we create custom streetwear with meaning. The fans that follow us get a taste of the authenticity and community that we bring to the fashion industry. We are sought after for our unique, one-of-a-kind pieces built to last a trip to the skate park as well as out on an urban trek.
We believe it’s not the fashion world that decides what you wear, it’s how it feels in your hands and in your heart that matters. We believe in freedom, and in giving you what you want in a modern, sexy way.
If you want custom streetwear that means something to you, that creates a feeling of individual freedom, and that will last through expert design and craftsmanship, contact us today.